Monkfish Cargot (Escargots-Style)

Monkfish Cargot (Escargots-Style)Monkfish Cargot (Escargots-Style)

A delightful dinner at Michael Mina’s Bardot Brasserie in the Aria Las Vegas served as the inspiration for this dish. But alas, with no snails on hand, I decided to try a monkfish version of Escargots de Bourgogne instead.

Et voilà, it exceeded our expectations!

The flesh of monkfish is dense, meaty, and succulent, with a sweet flavor. It has a firm texture that holds up well to baking at high heat in garlic butter, making it a perfect substitute for snails in this escargots-style recipe.

Monkfish Cargot (Escargots-Style)

Monkfish, also known as lotte in French cuisine, is a unique-looking fish found in both the Atlantic and Mediterranean. It’s known for its rather unattractive appearance, with a large, flat head, tapering body, and a wide mouth filled with sharp teeth.

Despite its unappealing looks, monkfish is prized for its delicious, firm flesh, often compared to lobster or scallops in taste and texture. It’s also a sustainable seafood choice, as monkfish populations are relatively abundant and well-managed.

Bardot Brasserie Las Vegas

Bardot Brasserie

ESCARGOTclassically prepared, absinthe butter, garlic, baguette
BARDOT BRASSERIE ESCARGOTS
classically prepared, absinthe butter, garlic, baguette

As we also took some food to go, I was able to bring home a paper baguette bag too, to use in my photographs.

Monkfish Cargot Recipe

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Seared Scallops, Crispy Prosciutto, Smoky Chickpeas

Seared Scallops, Crispy Prosciutto, Smoky Chickpeas

Seared Sea Scallops, Crispy Prosciutto
Smoky Chickpeas with Spinach

The inspiration for this super dish comes from another Las Vegas restaurant, this time, Superfrico at The Cosmopolitan.

Their current menu serves roasted sea scallops with cannellini beans, smoked butter, and prosciutto. A past menu served the scallops with chickpeas, Calabrian chile, and kale. Here, with a nod to both the old and new menus, I heat the chickpeas with a smoked paprika butter, then add baby spinach to wilt.

The pan-seared buttery sea scallops have a rich, sweet flavor. Prosciutto brings savory salty notes and when cooked, it develops a delightful crunch while retaining its intense umami taste. Nutty, earthy, and slightly creamy chickpeas are paired with tender garlicky spinach where the paprika butter adds complexity, depth, and an alluring smokiness. It is one tasty Vegas-style dish that comes together in minutes with very little prep!

Superfrico Instagram: Scallops, Prosciutto, and Cannellini Beans
Superfrico Instagram: Scallops, Prosciutto, and Cannellini Beans

Seared Scallops, Crispy Prosciutto Recipe

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Toby Keith’s Favorite Fried Bologna Sandwich

Toby Keith's Favorite Fried Bologna Sandwich

❤️🤍💙 Toby Keith’s ❤️🤍💙
Favorite Fried Bologna Sandwich

Little did we know on December 14, 2023 at the Dolby Live theater at Park MGM in Las Vegas, that we were witnessing the final show of his lifetime.

Our beloved country music icon, unapologetic patriot and huge supporter of our troops, kind-hearted philanthropist, and authentic troubadour Toby Keith, passed away less than two months later.

Here I honor his memory with a recipe and stories about his favorite sandwich.

Set List
Dolby Live at Park MGM, December 14, 2023

“Big Dog Daddy”
“Made In America”
“God Love Her”
“I Wanna Talk About Me”
“Whiskey Girl”
“Who’s That Man”
“Wish I Didn’t Know Now”
“Beer For My Horses”
“Somewhere Else”
“I Won’t Let You Down”
“You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This”
“Don’t Let The Old Man In”
“Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”
“Who’s Your Daddy?!”
“Dream Walkin’”
“Red Solo Cup”
“As Good As I Once Was”
“I Love This Bar”
“Should’ve Been A Cowboy”
“How Do You Like Me Now”
“A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action”

Encore
“American Soldier”
“Courtesy Of The Red, White And Blue (Angry American)”

Toby Keith in Las Vegas Dec. 14, 2023
Toby Keith, Las Vegas, December 14, 2023

It was a special moment when Toby played his last big hit “Don’t Let the Old Man In.”

In 2017, during Clint Eastwood’s golf tournament in California, he shared with Toby Keith that he was about to leave for a three-month shoot for “The Mule.”

Toby, impressed by Eastwood’s ability to handle such a busy schedule at an older age, asked, “How do you do it, man?” Eastwood replied, “I just don’t let the old man in.” This sparked Toby’s creative process and inspired him to write the song.

💔 💔 💔

Toby then followed that song with a tribute to his late friend, Jimmy Buffett with “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes.”

Here are a couple snippets from his last performance on December 14, 2023:

Don’t Let The Old Man In and Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

And my tribute to Jimmy Buffett with a recipe for a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” here. 🍔❤️🍔

Toby Keith's Favorite Fried Bologna Sandwich

I Love This Bar & Grill opened at Harrah’s Las Vegas in 2005. It had a long run but never reopened again after closing due to the pandemic in 2020.

In this video, the singer tells the story of the executive chef at Caesars Entertainment, Inc. (Harrah’s parent company) who was thoroughly displeased upon discovering a fried bologna sandwich featured on the new restaurant’s menu.

Despite the chef’s initial decision to remove it, Toby stood firm on keeping it. Eventually, the chef acknowledged that the sandwich was responsible for the restaurant’s remarkable success, boasting an opening volume three times greater than their other establishments.

I also read that Toby had a horse named Fried Bologna. I hope that’s true. 🐎

How to Make
🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 Toby Keith’s Favorite Sandwich 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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Michael Mina Las Vegas and The Black Cod

Michael Mina Bellagio Las Vegas

Michael Mina Restaurant
Bellagio, Las Vegas
and
The Black Cod with Black Truffle Dashi

Nestled within the luxurious Bellagio resort in Las Vegas, the Michael Mina restaurant offers an exquisite dining experience that reflects the Chef’s commitment to culinary innovation and top-notch service. Boasting an upscale atmosphere, the restaurant’s interior design is chic and contemporary, creating a stylish backdrop for a most memorable meal.

Chef Mina is renowned for his modern take on American cuisine. He often combines classic flavors with a fresh perspective, resulting in dishes that are both sophisticated and approachable.

Michael Mina Las Vegas and The Black Cod

The Miso Black Cod with Aromatique Vegetables and Black Truffle Dashi is a superb dish in true Michael Mina style, an elegant presentation with dashi poured at the table.

Black cod is glazed with a miso-based marinade.  The fish has a delicate, buttery texture and rich umami flavor. It is broiled to perfection and the result is a beautifully caramelized exterior with a slightly crispy texture and a lusciously moist and flaky interior. The sweet and savory miso glaze not only enhances the natural sweetness of the black cod but also imparts a unique depth of flavor to the dish.

Black Cod, Black Truffle Dashi

Black truffle dashi adds a layer of sophistication, a heady aroma, and a sumptuous touch. The dish showcases the culinary artistry of balancing flavors and textures while highlighting the natural qualities of the black cod.

Michael Mina Restaurant and My Black Cod Recipe

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Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei-Las Vegas

Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei🦐 Fried Prawns with Creamy Calamansi Sauce 🦐
Date Syrup Candied Walnuts with Chinese Five Spice

Wing Lei is the first Chinese restaurant in North America to earn a Michelin star – serving Cantonese, Shanghai and Szechuan flavors, and featuring tableside-carved Imperial Peking duck.

The meaning of the Chinese characters that represent Wing Lei, is twofold: not only does it mean “forever prosperous” but it also represents “Wynn” itself, the luxury Las Vegas resort and casino. All the menu items are priced ending in 88 cents. Representing prosperity and completeness, the number 88 is especially popular in Chinese culture because of the double eights but also because of its visual similarity to the sign for double happiness 囍.

Places are set with two sets of chopsticks per person. Black chopsticks are used to take food from mutual dishes to one’s plate. White ones are meant to carry food to one’s mouth.

We recently enjoyed an extraordinary meal at Wing Lei, celebrating my nephew’s 21st birthday. The service and ambiance were impeccable, the food sublime. One of our favorite dishes was Fried Prawns, I re-create my version here.

Fried Prawns with Candied Walnuts, Inspired by Wing Lei

Fried Prawns Recipe

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